Sir Fred Phillips
As Christian Churchman
Excerpt from a tribute published in the "Antigua Observer" written by Dr Joseph Archibald, QC, Legal Counsel to the MCCA and Fifth Vice President of the Connexion
The Methodist Conference in the Caribbean and the Americas (the MCCA) was established as an autonomous church in 1967, with headquarters in Antigua, to replace the parent church rooted in Great Britain. One of the entrenched offices in the MCCA constitution is that of Vice President of the Connexional Conference, the highest Methodist Church office to be held by a layman, for a period of two years without renewal (as from 1997 three years without renewal).
Chief Justice Sir Donald Jackson, KB was elected the first Vice President from 1967 to 1969; Sir Fred Phillips was elected the third Vice President from 1971 to l973 and I was elected the fifth Vice President from 1975 to 1977. There have been twenty Vice Presidents to date. The duties required of any conscientious Vice President are onerous, including travel to the countries which make up the Connexional Conference comprising Eight Districts (now called District Conferences from 1997), that is to say, the District Conferences of Belize Honduras; Panama/Costa Rica; Guvana; Jamaica; Haiti. Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands; the Leeward Islands (comprising Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St Thomas-St John, St Croix, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Curacao, Aruba, and now Holland); the Southern Caribbean (comprising Grenada, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago).
When I was elected a delegate of the Leeward Islands District in 1971 I attended many of the Connexional conference meetings, and met Sir Fred in the Bahamas, Panama, Antigua and elsewhere where we discussed constitutional and ecclesiastical law. I observed the manner in which Sir Fred dug deeply into the history of ecclesiastical law, especially the principles which governed human rights.
Sir Fred treated religious matters with deference and accorded them the weight they deserved, especially the provisions relating to faith and conduct. After he demitted the office of Vice President of the MCCA, he remained a faithful church member and a source of reference until his death.
During my years of service as Principal Legal Counsel to the MCCA Connexional Conference from 1978 to the present time, and during my several stints as principal legal adviser to the Caribbean Conference of Churches (the CCC) from its inauguration in 1973, I have often had opportunity to discuss important ecclesiastical law matters with Sir Fred, and he was gracious and generous with his counsel at all times.
When President John F Kennedy died, the Vatican in Rome described him as a good and decent man. I will describe Sir Fred also as a good and decent man, but especially as a friend - a trusted friend to me.
Sir Fred Phillips' devoted and beloved Lady Gloria, all his children, and all his other kin can thank God for his wonderful and productive life; a life that has exceeded by twenty-two years the three score and ten. My wife, Inez, joins me in offering condolences to Sir Fred's family. We will remember him.
Dated the 22nd February 2011 at Tortola, British Virgin Islands.